Klaipėda Region

Arms of Brandenburg.svg
Arms of East Prussia.svg

History of Brandenburg and Prussia
Northern March
pre-12th century
Old Prussians
pre-13th century
Margraviate of Brandenburg
1157–1618 (1806)
Teutonic Order
Duchy of Prussia
Royal (Polish) Prussia
Kingdom in Prussia
Kingdom of Prussia
Free State of Prussia
Klaipėda Region
1920–1939 / 1945–present
1947–1952 / 1990–present
Recovered Territories
Kaliningrad Oblast
Historical map of Memelland and the northern part of East Prussia.
Historical flag of the Memelland from 1919 to 1924 and de facto until 1939.
Postage stamps of the Klaipėda Region in use 1920-1925. The upper stamp is French with overprint in German "MEMEL". The other stamps are Lithuanian, one with overprint in Lithuanian and in German, the other without. The latter one was issued especially for postal use in the Klaipėda Region.

The Klaipėda Region (Lithuanian: Klaipėdos kraštas) or Memel Territory (German: Memelland or Memelgebiet) was defined by the Treaty of Versailles in 1920 and refers to the most northern part of the German province of East Prussia, when as Memelland it was put under the administration of the Council of Ambassadors. The Memel Territory, together with the other parts severed from Germany, the Saar and Danzig, was to remain under the control of the League of Nations until a future day when the people of these regions would be allowed to vote on whether the land would return to Germany or not.

Konrad I of Masovia requested assistance against the Prussians and other Baltic tribes, including the Skalvians who lived along the Neman River. In March 1226, Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II issued the Golden Bull of Rimini, which provided that the Teutonic Knights would possess lands taken beyond the Masovian border in exchange for securing Masovia. After Prussian opposition in 1242 through 1274 failed, the Order conquered many remaining western Balts in Lithuania Minor, including the Skalvians, Nadruvians, and Yotvingians. In 1252, the Order constructed Memel Castle, where the Dangė river flows into the Neman, at the north end of the Curonian Spit. In 1422, after centuries of conflict, the Order and the Polish–Lithuanian union signed the Treaty of Melno which created a border between Prussia and Lithuania. Although Grand Duke Vytautas wanted the border to be coextensive with the Neman River, the treaty border started north of Memelberg and ran southeasterly to the Nemen. This border remained until 1918. After the Treaty of Melno was signed, many Lithuanians returned to northern Prussia, which became known as Lithuania Minor.

Following World War I, the Klaipėda Region was created as a roughly triangular wedge, with the northern border being the Treaty of Melno border, the southern border being the Neman River, and on the west abutting the Baltic Sea. In 1923, fearing that the western powers would create a free state, Lithuanians took control of the region and, as part of larger regional negotiations, the region was incorporated into Lithuania. In 1939, Lithuania acquiesced to Nazi demands and transferred the Klaipėda Region to Germany. At the end of World War II, the Soviet Union incorporated the region into the Lithuanian SSR. The area of the Klaipėda Region is now part of the Republic of Lithuania, contained within Klaipėda and Tauragė counties. The border established by the Treaty of Versailles remains in effect as the current international boundary between Lithuania and the Kaliningrad Oblast of Russia.


Timeline with changes of control over the territory
pre-1252 Curonian and Scalovian tribes
1252–1525 Livonian Order and Monastic State of the Teutonic Knights (also Monastic State of Prussia)
1525–1657 Duchy of Prussia, a fief of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (with Prussia in personal union with Brandenburg since 1618)
1657–1701 Duchy of Prussia, a sovereign state in personal union with Brandenburg, a fief of the Holy Roman Empire (together also called Brandenburg-Prussia)
1701–1871 Kingdom of Prussia
1871–1918 Kingdom of Prussia, part of the German Empire
1918–1920 Free State of Prussia, part of Weimar Republic
1920–1923 Council of Ambassadors
1923–1939 Republic of Lithuania
1939–1945 Nazi Germany
1945–1990 Lithuanian SSR, part of the Soviet Union
1990–present Republic of Lithuania
Other Languages
Afrikaans: Memelland
العربية: ميمللاند
беларуская: Клайпедскі край
Deutsch: Memelland
Esperanto: Memel-regiono
Bahasa Indonesia: Wilayah Klaipėda
magyar: Memel-vidék
Nederlands: Memelland
norsk: Memelland
norsk nynorsk: Memelland
svenska: Memelland
українська: Клайпедський край